McDonald's 'Joint Employer' Directive Goes Beyond Fast Food

By Scott Flaherty (July 30, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT) -- The National Labor Relations Board general counsel's treatment of McDonald's Corp. as a "joint employer" alongside its franchisees in dozens of unfair labor practices cases could have far-reaching implications, potentially increasing liability in the restaurant and other franchise-heavy industries and giving unions a leg up in organizing, attorneys say.

In an advice memorandum to the NLRB's regional offices, the agency's general counsel, Richard Griffin, authorized 43 complaints of unfair labor practices brought by McDonald's workers, saying the cases could move forward treating McDonald's USA LLC as a joint employer along with its franchisees.

Griffin's directive followed 181 complaints the NLRB has...

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